If you love movies, chances are you love Christopher Nolan. He has directed some of the greatest movies of the last couple of decades, and is undoubtedly the most popular director at present.
If you have any doubts about how well received his movies have been, just check out the IMDb Top 250. IMDb ratings are presently the most popular indications of the quality of a movie available on the Internet. Everyone who has seen a movie can choose to rate it, not just critics or any other specific domain of people. IMDb ratings give you a very good indication of the opinions of the entire audience of a movie. And Nolan’s works feature very heavily on the IMDb Top 250.
Since his first offering, the low-budget 69 minute masterpiece, Following, he has directed 9 movies. Of these 8 of them are present in the Top 250 – Insomnia is the only one to miss out. Of these 8, 6 are presently in the top 50 movies of all time, 7 in the top 65 and the lowest ranked among the 8, Batman Begins is at 115.
However, despite his tremendous success and popularity with the audience, he has enjoyed somewhat less success with the critics. Don’t get me wrong, his movies have almost always been well received by the critics too. But a quick look at the IMDb and Metacritic ratings would tell you that his IMDb ratings have always been just that tad higher. In fact, up to 2016, Insomnia is his only movie to have a higher Metacritic rating.
Note – Since IMDb ratings are out of 10 and Metacritic ratings are out of 100, we’ve simply scaled the 2 for comparison. Eg. 8.5 on IMDb would be equivalent to 85 on Metacritic.
In a way, that’s not overly surprising if you consider the types of movies he has traditionally created. The typical movie critic often highlights certain finer and more traditional aspects of movie making, which most movie goers would probably give a much lower level of importance to. Certain genres of movies are also liable to get higher Metacritic ratings than others, IMDb does not discriminate as much. Christopher Nolan has often been far from traditional, pushing the boundaries of human imagination with his concepts, storylines and storytelling(parallel or even backwards storytelling, anyone?). These are things that probably don’t receive as much points from most critics as they perhaps should, especially given how much points they receive from most of the audience.
On 21st July, Nolan’s latest movie, Dunkirk was released. It was the first time he released a movie based on true historical events. And once again, it was just mind-blowing.
Dunkirk is undoubtedly one of the greatest depictions of war ever to hit the big screen. Nolan had often thrived on surrealism, Dunkirk is all about the realism. It makes you feel like you are actually present on the beaches of Dunkirk, it makes you feel the raw emotions and fear of war like few movies, if any, ever have.
This time Nolan was constrained by the bounds of history, it wasn’t a movie where he and/or his brother could show off their story-writing skills. It was a war movie, and it really was a war movie. It was a stunning, and historically accurate, depiction of war backed up by an unmatched audio-visual performance. And the critics have just lapped it up.
Dunkirk’s Metacritic rating is a whopping 94. It’s the first Christopher Nolan movie to have a Metacritic rating of over 90. It became only his second movie after Insomnia to have a better Metacritic rating than IMDb rating. The IMDb rating currently stands at an impressive 8.6, and it’s currently 44 on the Top 250. It might go down marginally as the rating gradually stabilizes, but there’s no doubt he’s produced another worthy member of the Top 250.
Can Dunkirk become Nolan’s first movie to win an Oscar for the Best Picture? It may not have the mind-boggling storylines of Inception or The Prestige, or become genre benchmarks like The Dark Knight and Interstellar. But it probably ticks all the Oscar boxes better than any of his previous movies. Christopher Nolan has always produced movies that the audience has loved. Perhaps now it’s time to get an Oscar for it.